"Weight Loss Winners and Losers"

Can I start this off by saying that the supermarket magazines and tabloids in the checkout lines really piss me off?

Okay- the supermarket magazines and tabloids in the checkout lines REALLY PISS ME OFF.

One of today's covers featured weight loss "winners" and "losers." But see, this is the crazy part: the losers were the ones who had gained weight. Apparently.

Damn that sounds familiar. "Who's the Biggest Loser?"

The winner, of course, was the girl who had lost weight. And pretty dramatically. I wanted to say, "But she doesn't have any boobs!" And for the loser, she looked normal. Like a woman in her late 20s should look. Curvy. Womanly. Not boyish with some fake boobs stuck in at the last minute.

Another magazine cover said "Lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks!" Um, right. I wonder if they know that one of the criteria for
inpatient treatment for an eating disorder is the loss of more than 15 pounds in a month. And the only way 20 pounds will come off your body in two weeks is a) dehydration and b) physically removing a limb.


This does not directly cause anorexia. Nope. Not one bit. Anorexia nervosa has been diagnosed in various forms since the Middle Ages (see Rudolph Bell's book
Holy Anorexia for an interesting look at fasting saints in the Catholic Church. Same sort of symptomatology as current AN, but a slightly different motivation. Which I could right a freaking book about...my Master's thesis, perhaps?) But it certainly provides a motivation to begin restricting one's diet. To lose a little weight. To be a little healthier.

And apparently, our government is in total agreement with these tabloid magazines. They are spending $1 billion this coming year on "Nutrition Education." It will include

"fresh carrot and celery snacks, videos of dancing fruit, hundreds of hours of lively lessons about how great you will feel if you eat well.... "

All of this in spite of the fact that they have proven to be, in the words of Junkfood Science author Sandy Szwarc, dismal to say the least.

Why are the results completely lacking in showing any lasting behavior changes? Because your weight is based on your DNA. Fat people don't eat more than thin people. I did not grow up in a good food/bad food household, and I enjoy a wide variety of foods. I love fruit (not just an ED thing). And give me some veggies, a wok, and some yummy oil (sesame is my favorite) and I can make anything taste good. I'm quirky, to be sure, but most people are.

The irony is that the more these "interventions" don't work, the more effort that is thrown into them. As in, "if a little doesn't do much, a lot will!" This works for some things, in some cases. But sometimes, you just have to conclude that this just won't work.

I'm tired of this. I don't honestly care how much a particular celebrity weighs, or what new nutrition recommendations are out there. Green tea? Drink up, honey bun, because you have to have at least 8 cups to have even a marginal effect. I love tea but not that much.

I think, after all of this time, I'm getting a pretty good grip on what my body needs to stay healthy. Advice be damned.

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Jeanne said...


Write on!! I whole-heartedly agree with you. The government and FDA can take their advice and shove it!!!

Especially since I had to take 15 minutes of my Saturday morning to counter the "advice" of one of these commercials that aired on Nickelodeon - Captain Carlos, champion of "healthy" food against his sister, the temptress of "junk" food. My son, after watching said cartoon-ad, proceeded to tell me that he will never eat cookies because they are "junk."
Whoa! Hold on there. "If you body is telling you it wants a cookie, you should listen. It's telling you that for a reason," I countered. And on and on.

It's absolutely maddening!!

So good for you for listening to your own body!!!

Sarah said...

Hmm. I lost almost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. Of course I had pancreatitis, and almost died, but it sure was a great weight loss strategy.

For Pete's sake. I never really thought about feeling sorry for celebs but it must be terrible to have that kind of scrutiny.

I would like to see the dancing fruit, though!

carrie said...


Ugh- that commercial makes me mad. The junk food "temptress"? Good Lord- is she found in Dante's Inferno or something like that?

Yay for being wise mom for your son!

Let's tell the FDA to shove it up their Brussel's Sprouts!


Ick. Pancreatitis is nasty. I've thought up my own odd-ball, crackpost "weight loss strategies" in my time, most of which would have killed me outright. Although I do have to admit, they were pretty damn original.

It really does bother me, the scrutiny of celebrities. You can't win.

::shakes head::

bron said...

Well done Carrie - most people have lost the ability to listen to their bodies, but it seems to be one of the best ways to beat ED and maintain a healthy weight.

I used to read those magazines as a guilty pleasure. Then I realised that they were all poison. Even the less trashy ones were still full of the same garbage. I think the only solution is to ignore them all...


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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com

nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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